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The 4th House in Astrology: Nature vs. Nurture

It's the house that's always open and accepting...
Maria DeSimone

Ever needed a soft place to fall? Of course you have -- we all do. Fortunately, your birth chart has the perfect location. It's called your 4th House of Home and Family. 

Also known also as the Nadir or Immum Coeli (meaning "lower heavens" in Latin), the 4th house of your horoscope is one of the four all-important angles of a chart. The 4th house, unlike the other angles, is difficult for the rest of the world to see. There's a sense of privacy about the 4th house. Not secretive in the "I have something to hide" way, but private in the "I don't need the world to see me in my pajamas" way. 

This is the part of your chart that has everything to do with home and family but also your most deeply rooted memories, traditions and heritage. This house rules the beginning and end of matters. The 4th house is the home of your tribe ... your "people." For most of us, this means blood relatives. And even if you've disowned your family later in life, the 4th house will still be home. That's because it's not only your family or origin; it becomes your family of creation.

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Home is where you make it

Our 4th house may be quietly sitting at the bottom of our charts, but don't let this stealthy placement fool you. The 4th house provides the roots and foundation of our lives -- and the rest of our horoscope. Like a tall, ominous oak tree, you can't see the roots, but you know they're underneath the ground, thick and prevailing. Filled with life sustaining potency. 

Which brings us back to family. Like it or not, the family we're born into has a significant effect on our development. These early experiences of nurturing (or lack thereof) as well as the intricate dynamics in our family lives will mold our innate security response. This response becomes one we absolutely need to honor -- in order to feel safe. 

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Different styles of houses

For example, do you have Gemini on the cusp of your 4th house? Then you might seek intellectually stimulating situations in order to feel "at home" in your world. Your physical home might have plenty of books, projects or a slew of devices that allow you to communicate, think and learn. Is the sign Pisces on your 4th house cusp or is the planet Neptune there? Then you might seek ways to make your home a sanctuary and prefer to live on, or near water. You might have a meditation area in your living space, or a corner designated to your art work. These are the things that make you feel safe. 

Growing up with Neptune in the 4th house or Pisces on the cusp might have introduced early experience of bewilderment in your family – possibly due to confusion about one of your parents, or another nebulous domestic situation. In either case, a planet in your 4th house is deeply private, and will strike an emotional chord. Is Mars in the 4th house? Then perhaps you're no stranger to angry outbursts at home or even worse -- domestic violence.

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Giving and receiving your own nurturing style...

Interestingly enough however, the placements in your 4th house also provide clues to help you learn how to best nurture yourself as an adult. Mars in the 4th house -- when you're "all grown up" -- might be experienced as a driving force to establish emotional security or the ability to fight for your family and be fiercely protective of your brood. This is because you will have learned to take those deep early memories of anger and violence in your environment and transcend them into a courageous, warrior spirit who will (hopefully) break free from that cycle of anger. 

When we have had enough of the public scrutiny in the 10th house we'll withdraw to its opposite house; the 4th house. Safe within the four walls of our haven we can recharge, relax and do what sustains us. We can be who we really are ... when no one else is watching. Then, by the time we're ready to go back out into the world again, we'll somehow be sturdier. When we need it most, we go to the 4th house to receive protection from the elements. Like the caterpillar who is thoroughly protected in the cocoon as she transitions into a butterfly, we can rest our head on our pillow and know that, with a bowl of homemade chicken soup, a hot bath, a good movie and a peaceful night's sleep, tomorrow we'll be good as new. Or, like the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly, we'll be even better.

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